In the country

pope valley hike

We went for a couple lovely hikes this weekend up in Napa Valley, or maybe in the Pope Valley.

Gosh, it was beautiful. It is so pretty up there — lots of toyons, very bushy and healthy with lots of red berries; lots of buckeyes, now bare of leaves with golden buckeyes hanging from bare silver limbs; lots of oaks and big-leaf maples, with drifts of brightly colored leaves scattered below them; lots and lots of land to tromp around on. Incredible.

Could I live in the country? I think maybe I could. Ok, in my idea world, I would perhaps maintain a small apartment in the city, too. But I do think I could — maybe in my decrepitude. There’s something really wonderful about being able to wake up and go for a ramble without making any special effort at all. And that country up there is really spectacularly beautiful.

It really looked like Christmas, albeit not the snowy kind.


Oooh. Are you listening to This American Life’s Serial?

First of all, it’s incredibly compelling, and it also feels very dangerous — it’s a series of podcasts looking into a 15 year old murder, in which a high school student was murdered and her ex-boyfriend was sent to prison for that murder, and a family friend of that ex-boyfriend has asked a journalist to look into the story, and she does — but it’s real — it’s about real people, which you sort of forget.

Ok, here are my thoughts after episode 8, in which we finally look at Jay — on whose testimony Adnan (ex-boyfriend) was sent to jail. I totally think Adnan did it, and I did not before. Jay was just this black hole until this episode, and finally hearing from him what actually happened clicks — she was murdered in the library parking lot, which is why Adnan was seen in the library.

We’re only halfway in, so I’m sure we’ll learn more, but at this very moment, that’s what I think.

That’s all I got —


Lucy on quilt

Our beautiful Lucy died yesterday.


She was 20, a pretty respectable age for a cat.


She had five kittens when she was about 1. Here she is with Jim, her son.


She was the terror of the neighborhood when she was young, but in recent years had settled in to sedate old lady-hood. She woke us up around 6 for a bit of cream, and then she’d go out and sit in the sun on the porch. She was rather personable, in a dignified way. She was never a pest, but she liked to have people around. She was also the softest cat in the world. She did not like dogs, and defended the sidewalk in front of our house from their foul presence. She could be quite fierce. It feels very lonely in our house without her.


Goodbye, Lucy!


Camera Roll-293

I think the time change has made me tired, which is odd. I find my self exhausted at 7:30, but then unable to really go to sleep until after 11 and then up at 4:45.

In other news, two families on bicycles passed me on my way to work this morning. That’s a nice thing. In the wake of the most recent election, I am glad to live in a place where it is perfectly normal to ride your bike to work and to vote for a sustainable downtown, an increased minimum wage and a tax on soda, and for a governor who is not a ranting loon.

Also, I’m ready for it to be winter. I want to be inside, reading books and baking things. Or else outside in the cold. In any case — winter. Speaking of winter, M is flying to Montreal today! She’s making all kinds of plans — we’ll see what happens. But I can certainly visit winter there —

And we’re heading off to see the cranes again this weekend. I’m torn between wanting to be outside all the time looking at cranes and wanting to be home, putting things in order.

I’m reading this and this. Both Japanese, and both about putting things in order. I’d recommend either one.

Sandhill cranes

The last birding class outing was this weekend — we drove to Lodi to see the Sandhill Cranes. What a lovely sound they make, and it’s very loud — you can hear birds which seem very far overhead as they fly past. (You can hear them on the page I’ve linked.) It was a great trip — we saw a northern shrike, an American pipit, a phalarope, tons of hawks, thousands of Canada and Cackling geese. The cranes were mostly moving around on slightly higher ground, so as you looked across a flooded field you’d see them moving in the background, like pale dinosaurs in a diorama at a natural history museum.

The Delta was beautiful — it was a gorgeous sunny day after a previous day of rain, so the air was fresh, the water was sparkling, and the trees were turning bright colors. It was great to be outside in a wild place. I’m glad I’m going back next weekend with some friends. I’m sad my birding class has come to an end.